On November 1, 2011, the US Sentencing Commission (USSC) released new guidelines that reduced federal minimum sentencing guidelines for those convicted on charges related to crack cocaine. These new guidelines reduced the sentences of 12,000 inmates and were intended to address the overcrowded prison system as well as disparities between the punishment for possessing crack and other forms of cocaine. The federal sentencing guidelines are meant to provide judges with a sentencing range if they choose not to impose the mandatory minimum sentence.
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